DISCLAIMER: This is a love story about two consenting female adults. Can't handle it, don't like it, don't read it. We're just borrowing Dick Wolf's characters for fun; we aren't making any money from it.
AUTHOR' NOTE: When two writing heads get together in a round robin...
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

It's Gotta Be Love
By Katherine Quinn & Adrienne Lee


"I've never done this before," I hear you say, and I swear I almost push you off the couch, from sheer shock, if nothing else. All those rumors I've heard, they couldn't all be lies. Then I wonder if you're lying.

Then I realize what you're talking about. This, this I can handle. Tour guide to the joys of lesbian sex? Been there, done that. The other, I'm not so sure I can take on.

As I'm grinning to myself, relieved, I notice you're looking like I ran over your puppy. "I'm not laughing at you, silly," I tell you. "You could've fooled me, what you did in the bathroom."

"Really?" You ask, your eyes bright with excitement and begging for reassurance at the same time.

I place your hands over my breasts again, and smile to your touch. Then I kiss you, deeply, like we were doing before, and I moan my appreciation into your mouth. That seems to encourage you. As your fingers move more aggressively, more insistently along my body, I try to maintain contact with you with my thigh.

Soon, I find myself craving more, and I stop kissing you.

At first you whimper. Then you feel my hands tugging on your shirt and open your eyes.

"I want to feel you; I need to," I tell you, as I pull my tee-shirt over your head. You look damn good in that tight shirt, but you look even better out of it, I remember thinking. "God, I've waited so long for this," I put all my emotions into that sentence, and try to capture your lips once more.

"Wait, Alex, wait," you move away, breathlessly.

I feel you raising up; I feel you moving your legs so that you're straddling my hips.

Now what? I search your eyes for an answer. Then I see you reach for me. I feel your hands brushing along my body, pushing my shirt up in the process.

I watch you sweep your eyes slowly over my exposed skin. I watch the expression of awe on your face as your gaze graze my breasts, and my nipples respond to your touchless touch.

I ease up, just enough to let you push off my tee-shirt completely, arching towards you as your hands smooth across my chest. I'm so glad you're a virgin at this. I'm not sure I can handle experienced.

Smiling up at you, I reach out for you, holding you with my eyes as you lower your body over mine. I love the feel of your skin against my skin, the touch of your breasts against my breasts.

My body shivers involuntarily, in anticipation as you shift yet again; it trembles in need, in agony as you press down between my legs. I can't believe I'm responding like this.

"Liv," I whisper as you bend your head towards me. I confess to your lips before sealing it with a kiss, "I think I love you."

62. love

You strip my shirt over my head and I can feel your eyes wandering down my body. I can see the lust flicker through your eyes. I don't think that I've ever felt this beautiful. I've seen lust, but there's something different in your eyes. Seeing you, look at me like that, it's more than makes me want to see you too.

I pull at your shirt, impatient to push it up, just to see you. You laugh lightly, and move so I can slide it off over your head instead of making me fumble with it under your arms. I cherish every inch of creamy white skin that I expose, and I can feel myself blushing as I look at you responding to my gaze.

You see my eyes staring at your body and you smile at me. You slither under me further and then use your hips to push me off balance so I fall against you.

Your skin touches my skin.

My brain is on overload.

Your fingers lace through my hair, pressing me into you.

Your steamy kiss fills my head, as I can feel you pushing your newly bared skin against mine.

I feel your fingers gently slide into the waist of the sweatpants that you gave me, and I can feel them curling against me, teasing me in slow luxurious circles.

You whisper in my ear, "I think I love you."

Oh god. I'm not even sure I heard you right, because my brain is acutely focused on your fingers sliding against me. I can't believe that you, after all this time, could possibly, could ever…

"I think I love you too." I moan, letting you kiss my cheek, as I whisper close to your ear.

"Really?" you ask, "Or are you just saying that?" Your smile is devilish. And then I know why.

You stop moving your fingers and I whimper.

"Do you mean it?" you tease.

"I mean it." I say, and your fingers start their slow circles again. "I've loved you for a long time."


Oh, good, so I'm not alone in this lusting, loving from a distance thing…

"That's what I want to hear," I smile at you, and tell you in another whisper, "It's seems like I've loved you forever."

I touch you in circles, feel you rock against me, hear your moans and whimpers next to my ear. And I want to slip lower, want to really touch you.

Then I remember Disgusting Man; you almost went home with him. I remember Abbie, lying to me, cheating on me, having unprotected sex with god only knows who… and I realize I can't. I can't touch you, taste you like I want to.

Suddenly, I feel sad, and I wonder why, since I've never felt so empty, so frustrated before, with other people. I never wanted to feel their intimate closeness like I do yours.

I realize I do love you.

And I find myself hoping for the day I can feel safe and comfortable enough with you, with our relationship, to trust you completely.

"Liv," I try to talk through your haze. "Let's get back into bed?" I suggest. When you don't hear me, I finally stop the circles.

"Alex?" You whimper. "Please? Don't stop?"

"Let's get back into bed. We'll have more room." I explain with a smile, as deep as seductive a smile as I can muster. "I want to do other things to you…"

You blush with understanding, and scramble off of me. I almost laugh at the urgency in your movements, until you reach down, and pick me up. Oh, god, I think I'm melting when I tell you, "You're strong."

"Rock climbing, gotta pull my own weight," you grin proudly when you ease me onto the bed, when you lower your body onto my body, when you close your mouth over mine.

And somewhere in the back of my head I hear myself mumbling, asking me if I should really kiss you like this, while your tongue push needfully against my tongue, while your hands rush over my breasts, my sides, tugging at my underwear.

I pull away from you, and take in a stabling breath, still holding you close to me. "You first," I tell you, and with your help, pushing you onto your back.

Slowly, I kiss down your throat. I want your first experience with a woman to be good for you. I want this to be the best you've ever had, want to ruin you for everyone else, I find myself thinking as I suck and nibble all over your chest. Pulling your full luscious flesh into my mouth, savoring the taste of your skin, your warmth…

I feel you tense in anticipation as I trail kisses across and down your stomach, moving closer and closer to your center.

Deeply, I inhale, filling my senses with your intoxicating scent, before reaching quietly into the drawer under the bed, and pulling out a small packet.

You must have heard the foil rip. "What's that?" you ask me, desire heavy in your tone.

"You'll see," I chuckle softly, as I smooth the cold latex over you. Before you can voice another question, I close my mouth over you…

And I feel you rock towards me, feel you open yourself to welcome my probing touches, feel the insides of your thighs quiver against my cheeks...

And I hear my name tumble out of your lips in a litany of passion…

And I smile.

64. oh god.

Oh god, oh god, oh god.

You are sliding down my body and I think I'm going to die. Kisses on my stomach. Kisses on my inner thighs.

My skin burns where you touch it.

Phantom trails of your kisses blaze their way down my body.

I've never felt this good.

I can't remember feeling this good.

Oh god.

You're so close to me, so…and then the sound of foil…and cold latex slipping over me, followed by your insistent tongue.

Oh god.

Wait. Latex?

Why latex?

Fuck it, I don't care if you want me to wrap me in saran wrap as long as you don't stop doing… Oh god.

I feel my hips bucking against you and you gently slide your hands over my hips to hold them to the bed.

Oh god.

This is better than my fantasy.

This is better than reality.

Oh god.

I'm so close.

You're not stopping.

Oh God.

Don't ever stop.

65. MORE

God I wish I could touch you, feel you, but I can't. Somehow that makes me mad at you, almost makes me want to stop what I'm doing. But I don't.

It's your first trip, and I have to be a good tour guide.

So I keep my mouth on you. And somehow the noises you're making make me happy, bordering on delirium happy. They make me not want to stop. I want to make you come over and over again. I want you to scream my name for more.

I'm so confused. Is this what love's like? A jumble of emotions and confusions?

My mouth is still on you, your hands are pushing and grabbing at my head when I reach down into the drawer again. As least disruptively as possible, I slide on the gloves, wondering how it'd be like to slip my fingers inside you. To let your warm wetness coat my skin…

Slowly, I replace my tongue with my fingers, and I kiss up to your navel, swirling my tongue around. Hopefully distracting you as I peel off the latex film, and smear warm lube across your heated flesh.

Still kissing you, my mouth now on your breasts, your hands clasping my shoulders, as you rock to the rhythm I'm setting for you.

"Oh, Alex, don't stop."

I hear you, Liv. No, I have no intention of stopping.

I listen to your moans, your whimpers. I listen to your body tell me what you want.


I hear you. Somehow I hear you so loudly. So I give you what you ask.

I try to give you everything you ask.

I want this to be good for you.

I want this to last.

For all I know, this may be the first and last time I make love to you.

For all I know, you may walk out of my life in the morning.

And I want you to know, and I want to show you, how much I love you… before you do.

And as I feel you clench around me, as I hear your heart beat, I tell you, "I love you, Liv."

66. Release

I think I'm dying.

Or am I just incredibly alive?

There's not enough air in the room. All that's here is the burning heat and that won't fill my lungs with the oxygen I need. If that's what I need at all.

I slowly feel my head getting lighter. I'm holding my breath.

I've got to…god.

I force myself to breathe.

My body is lighting up.

Parts I wasn't sure I had are responding to you. Things I haven't felt in years.

Fingers, sliding, pumping, pressing. Your tongue my breasts.


I can feel the twinges of my orgasm starting and I press into you.

You press back into me.

You don't let me go.

You keep me safe.


With you in your arms.

I feel myself falling over the edge of the precipice, holding you tightly.

When I hit the bottom, you're still there, with me, holding me. Your fingers still slowly working on me.

You slide up next to me and kiss me, deep on the mouth.

I gasp for air awhile you kiss my neck.

"How was that for a first time?" you ask.

I moan for a response. Words are too hard.

I kiss you.

You smile as I fumble my hands down your body.

You stop my hands and smile as you press your body against mine.

"Just be with me," you say.

I smile, letting the smell of your hair fill my senses. Your arm is over my stomach, and your warm skin is so comforting. I feel my eyes getting heavy.

Trying not to fall asleep is the last thought in my head as I drop off into unconsciousness.

67. FALL

I watch you as you drift off to sleep; I hoped and prayed that you would. Already, I can feel my body starting to rebel against the exertion.

Already, we've had one 'issue-talk', we don't need to get into another one. Especially since the safe-sex talk will inevitably lead back to your drinking problem…

I would like for you to still be here when I wake up. I would like to spend at least one night in your arms.

I don't want to give you yet another excuse to drown yourself in the bottle.

I just wish I knew what to do next…

Well, Olivia, I hope that was good for you. Maybe even as good for you as it was for me?

It never felt like this when I made love to another person, scratch that, when I had sex with another person. With you, it felt wonderful; it felt right.

And right now, I'm not feeling this raging urge to masturbate, like I had countless times. Of course the fatigue and returning fever might have something to do with it. Somehow I doubt it.

Like I said, Liv, I hope that was good for you. I hope our first time was everything you've imagined and more. It certainly was for me.

I also hope I've been a good guide. I know I'm going to pay for it.

But it was worth every bit of everything I've put in.

So I now know I love you.

And you think you love me, that you've loved me for a long time.

Now where do we go from here?

I wish someone would tell me. A divine inspiration now and then would be nice.

Oh well, tomorrow's another day, right?



68. Waking

I wake up slowly; my first sensation is the pins and needles in my arm. I try to move it, but there's something on it. Your head. Oh yeah.

Oh yeah. We, and last night, and, wow.

I smile to myself, I think this is how I want to wake up every day for the rest of my life, with your head on me, you wrapped around my body. I feel satisfied and full and wonderful. I can smell the warm scent of your hair, and I turn to bury my nose in it. You smell amazing.

I look around the room and smile. It's all pink, everything, pink. It's so girly. It's so you, but in a totally unexpected way. I never would have thought that you'd be such a femme.

I feel you stirring and you give me a sleepy hello. I kiss your forehead and you smile. "How'd you sleep?" I ask.

"Great," you say, as you snuggle into my body.

"I could get used to waking up like this," you say, pushing yourself closer, kissing my neck.

"Yeah, me too." I kiss your forehead again.

Your smile is radiant and your eyes sparkle when you look at me. "So what happens now?" I ask.

"Well," you start, "we have two choices, I guess. We could pretend this never happened, and go back to our lives, or we could try this out. Try being an us."

"I think I'd like that," I say, with a huge smile.

We're both silent for a moment.

"I'm sorry," you say, and for a second, my heart dives. I don't want to hear you take it back. I want the happiness to continue. "I just, I want to make it official. Will you be my girlfriend?"

My heart beats faster. "Yeah," I say, happier than I've felt in a really long time.


I don't know how long I've been lying here, awake. Listening to your breathing, counting your heart beat.

I wonder whose heart beats faster, yours or mine. Under normal circumstances, I mean. Beyond that, amazingly, I've managed to think of nothing else…

The shift of your arm tells me you're slowly waking. I wonder how much time I have, before you realize I'm awake, too.

Part of me wants to open my eyes now, kiss you, and then ask you the question I've been wanting to ask, for so long.

Part of me just want to lay in the present, with my head on your shoulder, with your arms around me. Me, laying in your comforting arms.

I can feel your head shifting slowly. I feel your lips on my forehead, feel the deep inhale of air you took. I think I can feel the smile lingering on your features.

I hope that means you're happy, too.

I can feel your head shift again, your neck straining slightly. Are you looking around?

Don't know why, but suddenly, I'm self-conscious.

So I move against you, and tell you a sleepy hello.

"How do you feel?" you ask me so gently.

Well, my head feels like it's swimming in cotton, but because I'm in your arms, I tell you, "Better." Truthfully, I don't think I've felt this good all my life.

And I tell you how much I want this feeling to last.

And you tell me you do, too.

For a minute there, I want to jump up and run around the room, and fling open the windows and yell out to the world how happy I am.

But then I remember, that's not really what I want. I mean, it is, but it's not enough. Already, I know that it won't be.

So I ask you the first half of the question: "Will you be my girlfriend?"

"Yeah," you tell me with a smile.

I latch onto that "Yeah," like it's some parachute or life-preserver, and ask the other half, "My girlfriend-girlfriend? Exclusively?" Meaning, no more drunken one night stands? Hopefully I don't have to draw you that picture…

70. disease

Your one an only? That's so damn cute. I don't think anyone's ever asked me that before. I don't want this moment to change. I want to be like this forever, with you here, warm and naked lying next to me.

I smile at you, "Jesus Cabot, you always ask for commitment on the first date?"

"Only from you." You smile, realizing from the tone of my voice that I'm kidding. I pull you closer to me.

"So," I ask, "no men on the side, huh?"

"What?" you ask, your head sticking up. You look alarmed, like you think I was serious.

"I'm just kidding."

"You better be," you say slowly eyeing me, putting your head back into my arm.

"So, I guess that means we can drop the latex thing, huh?"

You're silent.


You take a deep breath. "I think we should be tested first," you mumble.

"Tested for what?"

"You know, disease and stuff."

"Why? Do you?" I don't want to know. I don't want to think that you have something. I can't believe, that you, of all people?

"No," you say slowly.

It takes me a minute to add up the pieces. If you don't have a disease then why don't…? Oh. I see. You think I do. I'm not supposed to be hurt by that, I know that with all the logic of years on the job, but I am. I can't believe you think I would run around having indiscriminate sex. I'm not a whore. I have some standards.

"Oh," is all I can muster.

"Liv, I'm scared for you. I'm scared I'll lose you."


"You don't always remember what you do." I hear you say softly.

"What are you talking about?" I ask.

"When you, when you drink. How do you know that some guy you bring home doesn't have something that'll kill you?"

"Jesus Alex, its not like I do that every night."

"How many times?"

"Am I on trial?"

"No," you say softly.

"Feels like it." I mutter. Quickly, too quickly, you beg me to forget it. That you don't want to fight, that you want us to be together now, and happy. It's still on my mind as you gently kiss me, and quickly, all I can think of is you.


We shouldn't be talking about this right now. It's not going to turn out well. My mind keeps screaming at me as you ask about the latex.

I so want to tell you 'yes'. Trust me, I would love nothing more than to share that level of intimacy with you. But I can't.

Then you get defensive. Part of me expected it; the same part understands why you would.

Another part of me wants to strangle you. How can you be so stupid? So selfish? Haven't you learned anything from your job?

I try so hard to control that part, to ignore the warning bells, but I can't.

When you accuse me of putting you on trial, all I can think of, is that you're going to walk out that door. And I'm going to lose you, before I really know what it's like to have you.

So I kiss you.

And I let you kiss me back.

I let you nibble down my throat, let you take my breasts into your mouth.

I cradle your head in my hands, and all I can think of is how good this feels, how right this feels. All I can think of is how much I love you, and how much I want you to touch and kiss me everywhere, and make love to me.

As your mouth skips gently down my body, I hold you to me. I tell you in my head how long I've fantasized about this moment, how much I have wanted this, how happy I am that this is finally happening.

I wish I could tell you what's in my heart. I wish I could let you make love to me like I've always wanted you to.

But I can't.

"Liv?" I reach for your shoulders as your lips inch up my inner thighs. "Please stop?"

You look up at me, clearly shocked and dismayed. "Alex?"

"Not without protection, we can't." I tell you, letting you hear the tears in my voice, letting you know how much this hurts me. "I'm so sorry."

72. Testing

For just a second after you tell me no, I think I should just do it anyway. I doubt you'll stop me if you feel anything like what I felt last night. But I know that would be wrong. That'd be so wrong.

I don't know what to do. Whether to be mad, whether to be hurt, or whether I should just pray for God to drop some latex on me.

I decide that we're going to be proactive. You want me tested. Let's get tested. "Get up," I demand, as I slide out of your bed and grab for your clothes. I throw them on the bed and you look at me confused.

"Get up." I say again.

"Liv," you ask me. Questioning my judgment, wanting my reassurance.

"Come on, get dressed," I prod you, pulling your clothes back onto my body.

You want to play this game, let's play the game.

You start pulling on your clothes, looking at me like I've lost my mind. Maybe I have. I guess we'll find out.

"Where are we going?" you ask.

"I'm calling in a favor. Then we can go out to lunch or something. And I want my own clothes," I say, pushing your t-shirt back down over me. I don't want you to have a chance to say no. To say that we should wait. I want you now, I want this now, I want you to know that I'm not going to infect you with God knows what.

You pull on your clothes and I take your hand, pulling you out the door and down the stairs. "Where are you going?" you ask, as I pull you towards the subway. I point to the subway, but you have a mischievous grin. You dangle keys in front of my eyes.

"We have Trevor's car."

I look at you and then I see the black BMW.

"I like the way you think." I grab the keys from your hand, and you jump in next to me. I can feel your hand on mine, as I put the car into drive and pull out into traffic. After a short drive, we pull up in front of the office of the medical examiner.

I slide into a parking space and pull you from the car. "Wait," you say, "this is, we're going to see Warner?"

"She owes me," I say with a smile. "You want blood tests, I can get them for you in about an hour."

"But," you start to protest.

"Come on, Alex, you know she'll keep this to herself. We'll tell her we want to be checked for peace of mind, doing it together for the mental support."

Begrudgingly, you follow me up the stairs. Warner smiles at me as we push the door open. "To what do I owe this honor," she says, when she spots you lingering behind me.

"Well, I thought you could help." I start, with my smile going full blast. "I know this isn't exactly your biggest priority, but Alex and I were talking the other day, and we sort of realized that it's been awhile since either of have been tested for STD's. Since we spend a good portion of our days telling people that they should get tested, we decided to be responsible adults and get tested. I thought it might be a little easier to handle if you did it?"

You look at me in awe. Maybe you're surprised how easily the lie flows off my tongue. Maybe you're just surprised that we're here at all. I can't quite tell with you, but before you know it, Warner has our blood in tubes and promises to put a rush on it, to put our minds at ease.

I smile at you as we walk out together. You're rubbing your arm, and I ask you if you're satisfied. I swear I can hear you sigh under your breath, but maybe it's just my imagination. I hope it's my imagination.


I look at you like you're out of your mind as you toss my clothes to me, as you pull on your clothes. Get up? Right now? Right this minute? When my body is still trying to get accustomed to losing your warmth?

Well, when my body is still trying to get accustomed, period?

Have you forgotten that I'm supposed to be sick? Mind over matter, mind over matter, I keep telling myself as I cover my nakedness.

Can't we at least stop for a shower? Brush our teeth? How'bout a cup of coffee? I don't want to walk out the door looking like we just screwed the entire weekend.

You shove the bottle of Tylenol in your jacket pocket. I guess you remembered after all…

Before I even have time to get warm and fuzzy, you grab the pack of gum lying on the coffee table and hand me a piece. I pop it into my mouth, and run my fingers through my hair. I guess this will have to do.

Where are we going that you're in such a hurry? The determination in your eyes prevents me from asking. I just hang onto your hand for dear life as you race through the streets. I hope nobody stops us. I can just see the headline now. New York City cop and ADA caught breaking every traffic law.

Warner's? We're going to see Warner? Doing it together for mental support? The woman's not stupid. What happened to free clinics?

Oh, well, if she does figure out, at least that's one less person we have to tell… Wait. What happened to don't ask, don't tell?

Oh, shit, I didn't call mom about dinner!

Wait, did you just say we're here to get tested? Results in an hour? Maybe, hopefully, we can go back to doing what we were doing?

I really can't believe we're doing this. I thought I'd have to formulate some game plan and prepare like I'm going to argue in front of the Supreme Court or something to get you to agree.

Were you in such a hurry out of anger? Or do you really want me so badly?

My mind skips from question to question as you tell Warner our story.

Ow. I hate needles.

You ask me if I'm satisfied as we walk out of the ME's office.

Results in an hour… You and me back in bed in an hour… I hope you don't hear my sigh.

Sitting in Trevor's car, you ask me, "Brunch, while we wait?"

Brunch? FUCK! "I'm screwed! We're screwed!"

"Soon, I hope," you tell me with a teasing smirk.

"I've got court in half an hour! Baxter, remember?"

"Oh right," you turn on the ignition, "Relax, Alex, we can make it there with plenty of time to spare."

"I can't walk into Petrovski's courtroom like this!" I'm going out of my mind frantic. "She's going to sanction me! Worse, she'll tell all her poker buddies! I'm not going to be able to show my face ever!"

74. Preparation


On a weekend?

Oh wait. I do some quick math, and realize that it's got to be Monday. How could I have forgotten that?


I guess it makes sense though, that you would have to go to work. That's something that normal people do, on a regular basis. Being with you, alone for so long, has been ethereal. I should have realized that our lives, our schedules, would interfere in our schedule of simply being together. Elliot and I pulled nights this week, so I still have hours before I need to be in, and I'm disappointed that you don't. I forget that some people have normal schedules.

My brain flies into problem solving mode. I don't think you look half bad. I think, actually, you'd look better naked. Maybe Petrovski would get a kick out of that. You never know.

"You don't keep clothes in your office?"

"No," you sigh, but then I can see your eyes lighting up. "Oh my god," you say, "I left my dry cleaning there. I can still,"

I don't even let you finish. "Get in" I say, gesturing to the car, and before you have time to think about it further, we are on our way. Gliding through traffic, I can see you looking in the car mirror putting on your professional mask. From your purse, you pull out make-up, and gently start putting on. You run your fingers through your hair, and with expert skill you pull all your beautiful blonde hair back off your eyes. Slowly, I witness your transformation. As we park, I lean over and steal a quick kiss from you. We run through the halls as top speed and you fumble with your keys when we reach your office door. Flinging it open, you run to the coat hanger and pull something respectable out.

You look at me expectantly, like I'm going to leave while you change. I slide into the couch and smile at you. I'm so not leaving. You're getting the idea and quickly you pull the sweats off and slide on the uniform for Alex Cabot, Attorney at Law.

"You clean up well, Cabot," I say with a smile. You run over to your desk and grab a pile of papers and you tell me to stay.

I sit back on your couch and smile while I watch you run down the hall.

As soon as you leave, I realize how thirsty I am.

We didn't eat this morning, because I was in such a hurry and our brunch plans are now officially squashed. I look at my watch, and it's nearly eleven. I wonder how long you'll be away. I bet I have time to sneak down to the corner store and be back before you even miss me. You'll never know, I remind myself, as I run down the hall.

You'll never know.


I can't believe you just stared at me like that, watching me change. Nobody has quite looked at me like that before. I mean, a person can certainly get used to that kind of attention, but how am I supposed to go through summation with that on my mind!

I'm half way down the hall when I realize I'm running. I'm running? I look down, and notice I'm wearing my jogging shoes. Shit. What to do, what to do? Then I remember I had a pair of boots in the office that I had picked up from the cobbler the other day.

Boots and suits, Cabot? That's something that other ADA in white collar would do… Totally tacky. Ugh. Bad fashion sense or not, I have no choice, so I turn around and run back to my office.

Then I see you running towards me, although I'm not sure you see me. "Hey," I grab you by your arm, "Where are you going?"

"Uh," you look a little too thoughtful for a second, "I was running after you. To court. I just remembered that Elliot and I were meeting there. To watch the trial. Of course."

Somehow, I don't quite believe you, but right now, I have more urgent things to worry about. So I just pull you along, and we sprint back to my office.

As I'm changing out of the jogging shoes, my cell phone ring. "Cabot," I flip open the receiver. "Yes, Elliot, I'm on my way there now. In ten minutes." I answer his questions as I finish zipping up the boots up. Then he asks about you.

"Liv? She's here. In my office." I tell him without thinking. Then he wants to know what you're doing here. Trying to look up my skirt at the moment, but I'm not going to tell him that. "Listen, Elliot, I've got to go. We'll get together and talk after the trial, all right?" I say, and hang up without waiting for a reply.

"Why did you tell him that?" you whine at me. "I thought we were going to… you know, afterwards."

"You mean go back to Warner's?"

"Yeah, that's what I meant." You allege. Well, you at least have the decency to blush.

"Let's go." I hop up, and beeline for the door. "Hurry up, Liv, we don't have all day."

"Okay," you follow closely behind.

"Alexandra," I hear a familiar voice. "Counselor."

I halt to a stand still, while you almost ram into me.

"Yes, Liz."

"Where are you going?" She asks me.

"Baxter. Petrovski." I tell her. Shouldn't she know my schedule? And why is she staring at my legs?

"Oh, what? Retro Ralph Lauren's back in vogue or something?" She gives me that aggravating, condescending smile. Before I can say anything in my defense, she asks me, "Didn't you get my message last night? Baxter suddenly pled guilty. So now we wait for sentencing. Where were you? You were supposed to be on call…"

The phone call! Now I remember. Should have checked the message before we left this morning. "I'm so sorry, Liz. I was sick as a dog over the weekend. Ran a fever. I should have let somebody know…" I try to apologize.

"Huh," she looks at me, and glances at you. "I guess you do look kind of pale. Why don't you just take the day off, since you have arraignments first thing tomorrow morning."

That means… Oh, I'm so happy, I could kiss her. Instead, I respond as cool as possible, "All right, I will. Thanks, Liz."

"Get some rest, Counselor." I hear her call after us as we walk back to my office.

After the door closes, I press you up against the wall, "You think she thinks we were…"

76. Pretend

When Liz tells you that you don't have to go to court, I almost do a happy dance right there in the hall of the court building. I don't care that everyone you know in the world is probably here right now, or that they'll stare at me like I'm insane. Maybe I am insane. But if I am, it's because of you.

We walk back to your office, and I start to realize that I'm patently underdressed. Everyone is running around in suits and ties, skirts and pant suits, and I'm wearing clothes of yours that are a little less modest than I'd like them to be right now. I follow you slowly into your office. I don't see it coming, but you push me backwards into the wall. You kiss me.

You smile at me and ask me if I think she thought we were…I hope she does. There's nothing like being the talk of the town.

"So I guess I do get to have you for brunch." I smile.

"You can have me after brunch," you say, pushing me back off of you.

"Can we stop first?" I ask, looking down at my clothes. "I need a change of clothes."

You smile at me, "You just want to find a bed."

"No, really," I start to protest, before I see your eyes.

You smile at me, and before I know it, I'm sliding my key into the door of my apartment. I stick my head inside and I can smell the rank smell of booze. I don't even remember drinking here. What the hell…?

I hear glass crunch under my shoes and I see the broken shot glass on the floor. I vaguely remember having thrown one, but when was that?

I turn to push you out, before you come in here and I get another lecture from you, but you follow behind me, a little too closely. I can see the smell registering on you senses, but for the first time you don't try to argue. You look at the ground. I sigh.

My clothes are strewn in a path to the bedroom and I scramble to pick them up. I run into the bedroom, grab my bag, and throw clothes into it. Quickly, I pull your clothes off and pull some of mine on.

It feels good to be wearing my own clothes. I run back out into the living room and you've already found my couch. You're holding an empty bottle. At your feet is another.

"Come on," I say, smiling. "I'm ready to go." I smile at you, and try to urge you off the couch. Maybe, if I try hard enough, we can both pretend that this isn't happening.


I look at the bottle in my hand, and the one next to my feet, and I look at you, coming out of your bedroom, with a bag, with a smile on your face, ready to pretend this isn't happening.

I thought you knew me better than this. When has Alex Cabot backed down on anything? Not even if her life's depended on it. Besides, to back down now, I would be enabling your drinking. I can't do that.

So what can I do? I ask myself. All the hours of prevention training I attended, all the months of volunteering with Lawyers' Assistance didn't prepare me for this. I didn't have to care any more than a reasonable compassionate person should. I could walk out feeling good about myself, having helped someone in need. Now, I actually care about the person I want to help; I have to face the consequences. While I can handle the former, I'm not sure I can help you, if you're going to let me help you.

"Sit?" I ask you.

Reluctantly you do, sighing loudly in the process.

My instinct is to get up and pace, like I would in court. But I'm not in court, I'm not trying to convince a reasonable jury, nor a reasonable judge. So I put the empty bottle aside, and take your hands in mine.

"How often do you do this?" As gently but firmly as possible, I cut to the chase.

"Not often, not everyday, if that's what you're wondering."

"No, I know you don't do it everyday. Your work would have suffered." I try to be logical, for your benefit, and mine. "Don would have noticed, since he's a recovering alcoholic, he'll know the signs if one of his people is in trouble."

"Well, then why are you so worried? The captain obviously doesn't think I'm in trouble."

"Not yet, he doesn't." I look you in the eye. "You still haven't answered my question. Do you even remember when you drank this? Did all of this?" I sweep my hand across the bottles and the broken glass.

"Look, Alex," you stare back at me, with anger in your eyes, "I only drink like this when I'm upset, okay?"

As calmly as possible, I tell you, "I'm sorry then, Olivia, so sorry I'm the cause of your drinking problem, your misery..." Before I finish, you start to apologize, telling me it's not my fault at all.

"Then whose is it, Liv? Tell me whose is it?"

Why does it have to be a fault? You look like you're going to say. I don't give you a chance.

"Have you heard of all the damages alcohol can do to you? DNA damage? Breast cancer? Gastrointestinal cancer? Not to mention all the liver problems?" At this point, I can feel my control slipping. "You tease me this morning about asking for a commitment on the first date. I'll be honest with you, I don't know where I want us to go. But if I do decide I want you to spend the rest of your life with me, I don't want this life to be cut short because of your drinking."

"Alex..." You begin. Then you sigh, and you're silent again.

What were you going to say to me? I wonder.

I don't want to sit here and make excuses for you. I'm not going to hope the problem will resolve by itself. And I know how powerful denial can be.

And am I in denial when I told myself I could handle this? Being involved with you like this?

Don't express your helplessness, anger, or frustration through unrealistic, empty threats. I hear my own voice telling me.

If I go through with it, can I keep my own word? For a long moment, I wonder.

"Olivia," I touch your hand to my lips. "I'm not going ask you to give up drinking for me. I know you have to do it for you," I pause, looking down at our hands, our only connection, and continue, "But I have to be honest with you, with myself, as much as I love you, as much as I want there to be an us, I'm never really good at sharing... and I'm not sure I can do this..."

I sigh, and let go of your hands, pick up my bag, and look back at you. Cabot, you're doing the right thing, I keep telling myself, as I prepare to walk out your door.

78. desperation

I know when you tell me to sit down; you're going to give me another lecture. I sigh, throwing my bag to the floor. I listen to it thud dramatically, and I hope you get the idea. I slide back against the couch and let you begin the sermon. I cross my hands tightly over my chest, setting up my barriers, but you break them right down. You reach for my hands.

Feeling the warmth of your fingers in mine, I can feel you trying to look into my eyes, but there's no way I'm letting you make eye contact with me. I can't. I just can't. I study the floor; the grain in the wood becomes an ancient text I have to decipher.

I wish you could just understand how out of proportion you're making this whole thing. Every time I turn around, you're there telling me I have a problem. I just don't, though. I drink, sometimes, and occasionally more than I should, but not that much. It's only when I hurt, it's easier to drink than to deal. Yeah, that's a horrible habit, and one I should probably break, but how often am I really that upset? Beyond that, a beer or two at night, a few more with the guys? It's not that bad. There are lots of people who drink more than me. Tons.

You keep asking me when I drank the bottle in your hand. Hell if I know. I can see the bottles when I look around the room, and I'm kind of surprised at their number, but I honestly think this is more a problem of bad housekeeping than of actual alcohol dependence. It's not even that much. Lots of people drink and I can handle it. I know I can. You tell me if my work was affected that the Captain would have talked to me. Guess he didn't talk to you, because more than once I've sat in his office and listened to him tell vague stories about how bad it was to drink to excess and how he managed to kick it while giving me these long meaningful looks. I know I'm supposed to infer that he's referring to the fact that I'm two hours late and I look like I slept on the floor, but he never says it. I give him what he wants, the long look of apology and I thank him for the tale, telling him it sounds rough. Like he's the one to talk, he's the one with the problem.

You're making me feel bad, and I don't know what to say. I've had this talk too many times. I look down at the floor, but for some ungodly reason, you're pushing my buttons. I like you more than I'm supposed to. It's making it hard to ignore what you're saying.

You tell me you want to spend the rest of your life with me. I know that's a lie, since you won't accept me for who I am.

Well that's fine. I'm not going to argue with you. I know what arguing gets me. You tell me you can't handle it, and you get up, about to walk out.

I can't let you do that, and I stand up behind you, saying the words that burn my throat.

I know it's a promise that I don't intend to keep. I don't know why I'd be so bold as to offer it.

I do know.

Because I'm desperate.

I want you, to be here, to be happy with me. I don't want to be alone anymore.

"I'll stop," I mumble.

Your smile is huge, almost contagious. "Do you mean it?" you ask.

My stomach sinks. "Yeah, I mean it."

All of eight hours in, I'm already going to break your heart.


"Do you really, really mean it? You really will stop drinking?" I ask you, eager to accept your answer. I know, from experience, this is too easy. This won't last.

I know you'll break my heart soon enough.

But I really don't care. I don't want to walk out that door. Obviously, for whatever reason, you don't want me to either.

"Positive," you tell me with a forced smile. "I promise."

For the moment, at least for this one single moment, I let myself believe you. I turn away from the door, and practically fly into your arms.

It feels so good to be in your arms.

Just as I'm reaching to kiss you, my cell phone rings. I so want to ignore it, but after missing Liz's call last night, I don't want to test my luck. "Cabot."

"Hi, this is Dr. Warner, I have your results."

Good. Finally. "Yes?" I ask eagerly.

"Everything checks out. You're fine." The ME tells me, "But you should come back in six months, to make sure."

I breathe a sigh of relief. It had been over six months since I broke up with Abbie. "I understand."

"Do you know where Olivia is?" She asks, "I can't get hold of her on her cell."

"She's actually right here," I tell her. Something about her tone is disturbing me. You're just imagining things and worrying too much, I tell myself. "Would you like to talk to her?"

"Oh, she is. Yes, I would."

I don't think Warner was expecting that response.

Nor was I expecting her next advise.

"Alex? You should continue to do what you've been doing, to be safe."

"Melinda?" What are you trying to tell me? Am I just being overly sensitive and paranoid?

"You heard me. Now can I talk to Olivia?"

At this point, I have no choice but to hand you the phone.

80. Negative.

You stick the phone in my hand. "It's Warner," you whisper. You look like you were just hit by a truck. Holy mother of God.

I swallow deeply, and I'm scared for a minute that my test came back positive. I don't know how it could. I was just tested a few weeks ago, after I woke up with some guy in my bed that I didn't remember meeting. This always goes the same with Warner. She gives me a warning and then sends me on my way. She shakes her head at me as I go back to being the passionate professional that she deals with every day.

"Hello?" I say, taking a breath.

"Liv," I hear her voice full of warning. "Are you with her?" she asks me right away. How the hell does she know stuff like that? It's like the woman has a creepy kind of ESP.

"What?" I ask, shocked.

"Look, let's not get into it, but I've met other acquaintances of your fair Miss Cabot. All I want to know is are you with her?"

"Anyone I should know about?" I ask eyeing you as she tells me that of her other confidential clients are none of my concern. She asks me again if I'm with you.

"Maybe." I say, not wanting to look at you and knowing that Warner knows far more about me than I wish she did.

"You're not the only one who begs for favors, you know. Liv, you're negative, again, but I don't need to remind you that you engage in high risk behavior."

"Yeah," I say, gently. La la la. Whatever. I'm negative, leave me alone.

"Liv, I'm serious. It's only a matter of time. If you continue to drink and bring…"

"Thanks, Melinda," I say. "I remember."

I hear her sigh at me. "Seriously Olivia, have you thought about that program info I gave you?"

"I'm fine." I say. What is it today with all you people today?

I hang up your phone and hand it back to you.

"I'm clean," I say, as you look at me expectantly.

"Are you sure?" you ask me. It's written all over your face that you don't believe me. That you think I'd lie about something like this though? I don't like being doubted. Not like this. Not by everyone. This whole thing is really getting old.

"No, Alex," I say, "I'm not sure. She said negative, but she probably meant positive."

"Liv, that's not what I'm…"

"Stop doubting me, okay? I'm not lying to you. I'll do what you say, I won't drink. You win, okay? But I'm not going to lie to you about something like this."

"I'm not saying you're lying, Liv."

"I'm tired of you on my back. Asking again and again. Just lay off, okay? I'm fine. I'm a big girl and I can handle myself. If you have a problem with that, then go."

"What happened, Liv?" you ask, reaching out for me. "What'd she say to upset you?"


"Liv?" you ask, reaching for my arm.

"It's not a big deal, okay? She just knows how to push my buttons."

"Yeah," you say, looking at the floor. I can still feel your arm on mine, and I smile at you. "Let's go get that brunch," I say, sliding across the room to grab my bag.

I grab your arm and pull you out the door.

Part 81

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